This is Ike. He’s a pretty good-natured dog. He’s small and looking up at the world most of the time, so he’s a bit anxious and quivers a lot. He’s getting pretty old, 14 now, but he’s still got game and can teach us a thing or two.
Enjoy life, even when you have embarrassing slips along the way. Two days ago he slipped on the last step into the garage and did a face plant. But he bounced back up and was still ready to go. No matter how old and creaky he gets, he’s still up for a walk. Yesterday, he bounded off into the patch of tall grass near our house. He bounced around in there for a bit, his ears popping up above the 24” – 36” grass so we could track his movement. He then bounded out, doing a front roll as his snout caught in the thick grass on the edge of the weedy patch. He popped up, wagged his tail, did a quick playful down-dog pose and went back into the weeds.
Don’t go down steps in the dark.
Kill flies. Flies are very annoying. He growls and snaps at them whenever they buzz past him. And biting flies are the worst. He’s only caught one that I’ve seen. He still snaps at them, so it must have been satisfying. He snaps at bees too, but those aren’t as satisfying to catch. When we lived in Bemidji, I usually didn’t need to put him on a leash for our walks on the country, gravel road. If the biting flies got bad, he’d give me a backwards glance and then take off in a sprint towards home, leaving me to be the only thing attracting the biting flies. He’s a pretty smart dog.
Run and play every day. His favorite toy is a stuffed penguin. He’s always got energy chase and retrieve it and play tug-o-war at least for a few minutes every day, before he’s got to take a rest. Unless it lands on the heat vent in the floor, because that shit is scary.
Read the room; approach dogs you don’t know with caution. Small dogs are usually ok to play with. Raise your hair and growl at bigger dogs until you know they are safe. And some dogs it’s best to not even look them in the eye. Pretend you didn’t see them and hopefully they’ll leave you alone.
Be mindful of where you leave your crap. He’s very particular about where he poops. He’ll search and search for the perfect spot to poop, even when it is 10 degrees outside and wading through deep snow. And then, as if offended by what he’s just done, he’ll sprint away from it, leaving me to pick it up. Who’s in ccontrol here?
Every now and then it’s okay to take a break from impeachment, climate crisis, struggling schools, increased teenage suicide rate, and just sleep hard so you are ready to pick yourself back up and get back in the game.